Lex didn't have to steal the first one. Soft and slightly grey with too many washings, Clark's t-shirt felt warm when Lex tucked it in his briefcase before leaving The Talon. Lex thought about it folded between financial reports and partnership proposals marked with his handwriting- got hard thinking about it. Worn cotton, shapeless without a body in it, scented with Ivory soap and warm strawberries... Lex jerked the car back into the right lane. He could return the shirt later, washed and folded. On that technicality, claiming it didn't even approach theft.
So he wouldn't forget to put it with the wash, Lex dropped the shirt on his bed before he went to take a shower. It was still puddled on the duvet when he padded back through, a towel lashed around his narrow hips. Catching a glimpse of the clock, he noted the late hour as he turned out the lights, and reminded himself that he'd have to leave Smallville before sunrise to make his morning meeting in Metropolis.
Settling into bed, damp and yet towel-clad, Lex traced the pattern of beams set into the ceiling as castle-cold crept out to steal the lingering warmth from his shower. Tight, pale skin, the moonlight painted his lips and nipples with a faint, bluish hue that darkened to dusky shadows where the towel crossed his hips. Clouded in memory, he could taste the river in the back of his throat, the stamp of an unfamiliar mouth warm on his.
Rationally, he studied it like memory, flying, then floating, then falling to a warmth inside him when he drew, no, drank a borrowed breath. Cold ground beneath him, cold hands, cold skin but heat on his lips and in his chest, expanding and spreading to wake him after a long dream; in his way now, Lex pushed the towel aside.
Right hand, his unfamiliar hand, he curled stranger fingers around his cock, sucking a sharp breath through his teeth at the cool contrast to heat. He tasted the river again, dirty and green, but sweet with strawberries and dared to peer though his lashes at the cotton totem crumpled beside him. Folded back on itself in a thousand sensual lines, it taunted him with its shapelessness.
Tightening his grip, stroked his cock in slow, clumsy time, washing his thumb over the silken head before smoothing down again. An ache and warmth spread, running through his veins like lightning. Wrong hand, right hand, water on his skin, he splayed an arm over his eyes and watched history in the dark- miniature soldiers on a field of green, and the solid warmth of Clark against his shoulder, the uncertain weight of broad hands brushing over his own to trade Biblical armor, the concert glow of the unknown widening river-blue eyes while his hands steadied him, that was just down the hall.
Just down the hall, yards countable on fingers, and Lex steeled his grip before stealing another glimpse of the shirt. Rasping greedy breaths now, he twisted, rolling his hips to thrust into his hand, his throat burning with baritone murmurs. Tragic concentration marred his brow, close to pain stretched out in the dark and fucking his wrong hand, the right hand, breathing in clean and summer, seeing nothing but midnight hair and a smile like the wide open skies. Remembering the taste of him, remembering the shape of him, but actually inhaling him, something snapped.
Lightning first, then thunder, Lex caught the headboard when he jolted, hot spatters striking his belly, washing his fingers with sticky heat. Thrusting into his fist, hard and fast, he strangled on senseless cries until there was nothing left but the thrum of blood pounding in his ears. Catching the edge of the shirt, he pulled it to his face and shuddered again. Lips catching on the cracked screenprinting, he vaguely remember a time when it would have been the scent of leather leaving him to shiver in the dark.
He didn't steal it the second time, either. It was torn, and stained with something that looked like soot, and Lex doubted very much that even the budget-conscious Martha Kent would bother mending a t-shirt. Lex was just doing his part for the environment by recycling it. With it stuffed in his coat pocket, he couldn't resist slipping his fingers into cotton folds while he discussed adding a few pies to his weekly delivery order.
Since Mrs. Kent smiled and laughed with him, he made the reasonable assumption that she hadn't seen him recycle anything from her rag bag. On the same basis, he made the equally reasonable assumption that dior-cut Italian cashmere hid both purloined t-shirts and erections admirably well.
The third time, he had to admit to the misdemeanor. The shirt was close to new, the crimson cotton still vibrant, the Crows crest emblazoned across the front unbroken. Hanging from the clothesline, it waved seductively in the breeze, claiming to be the property of the Smallville athletic department. Perhaps that had been true once, but for a brief moment in time, it had belonged to Clark Kent, and now it belonged to Lex Luthor.
While he was fairly certain that his lawyers could get him out of a petty theft conviction, he wasn't up to explaining away public indecency. Consequently, he waited until he passed the iron gates outside the manor to enjoy his prize.
"What's this?" Leaning back in his chair, Lex fixed Clark with a quizzical smile. A package lay between them on the desk, inexpertly wrapped, and Lex had to squelch the urge to shake it. Four days until Christmas, he hadn't been expecting anything besides something large and impersonal picked out by his father's personal shopper.
Clark laughed. "What does it look like?"
Lex picked up the box, still not shaking it. He skimmed his fingers over the newsprint-wrapping paper. Left alone, he would have played with it for hours, turning it over, weighing it in his hands. Maybe measuring it, definitely shaking it, and guessing at all the things that could be inside before actually getting around to find out for sure. Since Clark didn't seem to be going anywhere, he stalled. "I don't know, Clark. Isn't it a Kent tradition to refuse gifts? Especially unexpected ones?"
"You're not a Kent," Clark said with a grin. Leaning against the edge of the desk, he gestured at the package, dark brows raising expectantly.
"Point taken." With a brief flash of amusement, Lex turned the box over. It wasn't Christmas yet. He could claim calendar canon as an excuse to keep the package a little longer. Of course, that would mean throwing Clark out of his office... Lex hesitated a moment, then slid reluctant fingers under the fold taped down at back.
Shoving his hands in his pockets, Clark leaned in a little as Lex pushed the paper away and worked his fingers beneath the lid of the box. "I know it's not exactly your style, but..."
"Whatever it is, I'm sure..." Lex cut himself off. He was going to say 'it's fine,' or 'I'll like it,' but when he pushed tissue paper aside to reveal a bright yellow Smallville Athletic Department t-shirt, his tongue failed him. This had to be Clark's idea of helping him fit in, and he insisted that to himself emphatically, all the while wondering why he'd thought keeping a glass desk had been a good idea. He shifted uncomfortably, and hoped Clark shared his mother's blindness to sudden, untamable erections. "I don't know what to say."
Clark smiled, leaning closer still. "Thank you works."
"Thank you." Lex caught himself rubbing the collar with his thumb, and truly wishing for the first time that Clark would go away.
"By the way, that's not actually your present." A faint blush decorated Clark's cheeks.
The leaning, the blushing, the disarming, uncertain smileLex decided that, in another life, Clark must have been the Marquis de Sade. "It's not? Then what is?"
Hesitating, Clark glanced away, as if considering something, then dipped his head to murmur into Lex's ear.
"I already wore it for you."